APEX Express has an incredible opportunity to send one of our contributors directly to the frontlines of economic, political, and social struggles (and victories) in the Philippines. In July, the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines will bring together people from across the country who are working to challenge the culture of impunity. APEX contributor, R.J. Lozada, looks forward to capturing sound and video from this important gathering and from other parts of the country where people are fighting against big mining corporations, big landowners, and the government for land and life.
What is APEX Express?
APEX Express is a long-running, weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our communities. The show is produced by a collective of media makers, djs, and activists and airs each week on KPFA 94.1FM.
What is this campaign for?
Over the years, APEX has shared voices from around the world including anti-nuclear work in Japan, movement against land-grabbing in India, and voices in protest from Korea.
The Philippines is one of a number of developing countries at the frontlines of land-grabbing, massive industrialization, increased U.S. military presence, and economic shifts, and APEX has brought you the voice of Angie Ipong, who at age 60 was arrested and detained for six years as a political prisoner without due process. We've shared voices from the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), who drew similarities between a critique of the U.S. electoral process with the electoral process in the Philippines.
This summer, we're expanding our reporting to send one of our contributors, R.J. Lozada, to the Philippines. With the help of APEX member Marie Choi and local journalists in the Philippines, he'll gather stories from the people most affected by the issues: organizations, activists, scholars, and members of other Filipino communities in the fields, the streets, the classrooms, and offices. He'll explore how the Pacific Pivot (Trans-Pacific Partnership and military policy) exacerbates inequalities and injustices and how this has affected movement work, cultural production, and daily life.
He'll also attend the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines, a gathering of human rights workers that challenge the culture of impunity. This conference is a convergence of the brightest minds within the human rights communty in the Philippines and abroad.
He will also venture to Mindanao to get perspectives of how mining compromises the ecosystem and how the indigenous communties organize against miners, and sometimes their own communities.
In addition to mining, he also plans to visit Hacienda Luisita, and observe how farmers attempt to gain autonomy and footing in true land reform -- a process that seems to be hastened by the collusion of the landowners and the Philippine government.
Finally, R.J. hopes to explore how Karaoke as a popular activity highlights the hopes, the respite, and the laughter at the end of the day.
Why is this important?
The mainstream corporate media often highlight the benefits of free trade agreements (in the name of free capital flow), and increased military presence (in the name of security). It highlights the diplomacy and agreements, but fails to articulate the local voices -- those affected and disenfrancised.
In a long tradition of providing a media outlet for oppressed voices, APEX Express recognizes the benefits of providing diverse ideas to create a strong democracy. APEX Express plans to march alongside student activists, and the urban poor during the State of the Nation address, or record the roar of distant mining cranes from a relatively untouched mountain top, or to hear footsteps and hushed voices in the halls of a government agency, it's silence, paralyzing. These scenes and access stand in direct contrast to some of the more short-sighted and problematic representations put out by the mainstream.
What We Need
Contributions will be spent on:
- Airplane tickets to travel to, and within, the Philippines (approximately $2000).
- Local travel: jeepney, tricycle, taxi, bus.
- Equipment: While R.J. has most sound equipment, he needs a camera body to produce short videos and capture illuminating photos (approximately $700).
- Expendables: R.J. needs media cards (SD, CF) as he may be without computer and hard drives for several days.
- Conference fees (around $500).
- Fixers and translators: APEX would like to adequately support indviduals and groups that will assist in obtaining and interpreting interviews.
Note: ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Also, this trip will not cover R.J.'s personal amenties. This is NOT a vacation.
APEX Express intends to create connections to international struggles with those back here in the U.S. The inequalities, injustice, hopes, and dreams that Filipina/os experience in the Philippines parallels (or is even a cause) that of struggles who are disenfranchised in the United States.
All of the reporting (radio, video, photographs) will be collected, edited, and uploaded on the APEX Express tumblr. The audio will be broadcast later this summer on APEX Express.
Other Ways You Can Help
Spread the word! Visit our website for the trip: apexexpress.tumblr.com for more updates, information, and stories. Maraming Salamat, Po!